Clarified Butter Recipe

The easy way to stable, burn- and spoil-resistant clarified butter.

Photographs: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Gentle heat cooks of butter's natural water content, without scorching the milk solids.
  • Straining removes the milk solids that would otherwise smoke and burn when used as a cooking fat.

What is clarified butter? Plain butter that's been gently simmered to remove its water content, then strained to remove the browned milk solids to create a more stable cooking fat. When comparing clarified vs plain butter, clarified is best for recipes where plain butter might smoke or burn. Here's the easiest method for at-home cooks.

Recipe Facts



Active: 20 mins
Total: 20 mins
Makes: 1 1/2 cups

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  • 1 pound unsalted butter, cubed


  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.

  2. Continue to cook over medium-high heat; an even layer of white milk proteins will float to the surface.

  3. Bring to a boil; the milk proteins will become foamy.

  4. Lower heat to medium and continue to gently boil; the milk proteins will break apart.

  5. As the butter gently boils, the milk proteins will eventually sink to the bottom of the pot, and the boiling will begin to calm and then cease. Adjust heat as needed to continue boiling off the water without scorching the milk solids.

  6. Once boiling has stopped, pour butter through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or through a coffee filter into a heatproof container to remove browned milk solids. Let cool, then transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use. Clarified butter should keep for at least 6 months in the refrigerator.

Special equipment

2-quart saucier, non-reactive sieve, cheesecloth or coffee filter

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